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Washington River Protection Solutions to Clean Radioactive Waste Tank Using Robotic Arm

Washington River Protection Solutions, a contractor firm that cleans tank farms filled with nuclear reservation, will use a Mobile Arm Retrieval System (MARS) to clean the Department of Energy¡¦s  radioactive waste tank. The MARS has a specially designed robotic arm.

The contractor bored a 55„c diameter hole into the C-107 tank via 15„c thick steel rebar and concrete utilizing high-pressure water with a fine garnet grit. The contractor then fitted a pipe in the tank hole to facilitate the use of the MARS unit. The unit will be used to pump solidified wastes from the single-shell storage tank to a new double-shell storage tank.

Deputy Manager of retrieval and closure operations at Washington River Protection Solutions, Kent Smith stated that the MARS unit uses a robotic arm, which is specifically designed to reach every corner of the tanks and remove up to 99% or more of the wastes. The unit is anticipated to clean nearly 247,000 gallons of solidified wastes from 2011 summer.

Deputy Federal Project Director for Office of River Protection in Richland at DOE, Chris Kemp commented that they have created a number of robotic arms at Hanford. However, the available arms were quite small to perform the job, he added.

The MARS unit with specially designed robotic arms will be supplied and deployed in February 2011.


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